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Postwar Germany: 28 Months After V-E Day (Part I)

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Postwar Germany: 28 Months After V-E Day (Part I)

Published 1947/09

(this item is currently being modified/updated with a "fixer" task)

Investigation of German industrial production capabilities after the devastation of World War II. With striking images of destroyed German cities and factories. Amateur film made by George T. Fonda, assistant to the president, Weirton Steel Company.

Run time 13:34
Producer Weirton Steel Company
Sponsor Weirton Steel Company
Audio/Visual Si, B&W/C


"These pictures were taken by Mr. George T. Fonda, Assistant to the president, Weirton Steel Co., during an investigation of German industrial production. Mr. Charles Murray, Vice President, American Rolling Mill Co. was associated with Mr. Fonda on this investigation."

Amateur film covers the Ruhr in the British Zone and Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Munich and Nuremberg in the American Zone.

"The objective was to report on German industrial production and manpower problems and to determine the factors deterring maximum production."

Title cards [names and places listed below have been transcribed from title cards]
Stock shots:
Some shots of people in the street; but even urban areas seem bereft of people.

"By Army Plane from London to Berlin (note destruction in Berlin)" aerials; Tempelhof Airport, Berlin; wealthy German residence; Goebbels residence in Berlin (damaged); American military headquarters (formerly Luftwaffe HQ); African-American soldier guarding headquarters salutes; General Lucius Clay and staff review troops; Ambassador Murphy; Frank Fritts, economic adviser to General Clay; colored map showing partioning of Germany; bombed out buildings; devastation; Germans scrounging in ruins;

Schillstrasse; the Reichstag; 1870 Victory Column; the Tiergarten; Russian monument to 1945 victory; Hitler's chancellery and office; the bunker where Hitler died. Goebbels propaganda radio tower; small shops emerging from the ruins; Olympic stadium; by rail to Essen; ruins in Hamm and Dortmund; the Krupp works in Essen; Oberhausen; Huttenwerk; Duisberg; Huckingen; Gelsenkirchen; Zollverein Colliery (largest coal mine in Ruhr); production charts; British Administrative Headquarters; Cologne (80% destroyed)

Terrific footage of the Rhine from a boat, farmland on hillsides, includes castles, and other architecturally distinctive buildings; Weisbaden; Giesseheim, Chicago Pneumatic Tool Co. plant; Bierbrich; Dyckerhoff Portland Cement Co.; Russelsheim; Opel Autoworks; automobile factory; Heidenheim; J.M. Voith Co.; Voehringen; Wieland Werke - aluminum;

Munich; man with amputated leg walking with crutches; title card: small private enterprise emerging: a woman asking Mr. Murray where she might get materials to make dolls; Exposition Building in Munich; Beer garden in Munich where Hitler started out; food ration lines: Bavaria; animal drawn farm carts; German Tiger tank destroyed on Bavaria farm; American military headquarters in Munich; American flag waving in the wind.



Reviewer: marycaruso - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 9, 2016
Subject: History so Important
It's so important for younger Americans to understand what WW2 was about, and what was required to defeat Nazism.
I worry that in our present mindset, we cannot win the war on terror.
My parents emmigrated to America just before Hitler took power, their families knew they needed to get out if they could. They came from small villages near Frankfurt, and I always wondered how the remaining family members survived all they had to endure. They lost two sons who were fighting in the German army, one in a Russian prison camp. So this war remains in our minds.
I hope our young people will benefit from this work.
Reviewer: JJCh - - July 1, 2013
Subject: Limitations in the film
Copied from the film:

“This film covers close-up observations inside Post-War Germany as they existed in September, 1947.

“Our objective was to report on German Industrial Production and manpower Problems and to determine the factors deterring maximum production.”
The above seems in complete ignorance of the following background from Wikipedia: (Note: The below-mentioned pastoral plan was Morgenthau’s)
“Others have argued that credit should be given to former US President Herbert Hoover who in one of his reports from Germany in 1947 argued for a change in occupation policy, amongst other things stating:
‘There is the illusion that the New Germany left after the annexations can be reduced to a 'pastoral state'. It cannot be done unless we exterminate or move 25,000,000 people out of it.’[13]
“Worries about the sluggish recovery of the European economy (which before the war was driven by the German industrial base) and growing Soviet influence amongst a German population subject to food shortages and economic misery, caused the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Generals Clay and Marshall to start lobbying the Truman administration for a change of policy.[14] General Clay stated
‘There is no choice between being a communist on 1,500 calories a day and a believer in democracy on a thousand’".
“In July 1947, President Harry S. Truman rescinded on "national security grounds"[15] the punitive occupation directive JCS 1067, which had directed the US forces of occupation in Germany to "take no steps looking toward the economic rehabilitation of Germany [or] designed to maintain or strengthen the German economy." It was replaced by JCS 1779, which instead noted that "[a]n orderly, prosperous Europe requires the economic contributions of a stable and productive Germany."[16] Nevertheless, General Clay needed over two months to overcome continued resistance among his staff to the new directive, but on July 10, 1947, it was finally approved at a meeting of the SWNCC. The final version of the document ‘was purged of the most important elements of the Morgenthau Plan.’[17]
“The restrictions placed on German heavy industry production were thus partly ameliorated, as permitted steel production levels were raised from 25% of pre-war capacity[3][4] to a new limit placed at 50% of pre-war capacity.[18]”
Reviewer: jgruszynski - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - November 26, 2007
Subject: Amateur film with historic value
It may be categorized as in "industrial film" but it 's actually an amateur film by an industrialist possibly paid for by an industrial company.

It's akin to my grandfathers' color photos from 1944-1946 Philippines in Leyte, Samar and Manilla: the most interesting parts are exactly what's least related to why he was there.
Reviewer: AnitaE. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 14, 2007
Subject: thank you from germany
as a young german lady (35 years old) i wanna thank you all guys for documents like this. dont think that we germans are not interested in that kind of documents, we are! and as i thank always to archive . org for all of their films, i wanna thank as special to these kind of documents. THANK YOU ALL!
kisses from germany to the world, and most of all to our beloved american friends , over there.

Reviewer: Steve Nordby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 10, 2004
Subject: An un-polished amateur film
Towards the end of part one, and continued in the rest, you see what the aftermath of a real war, not some Hollywood movie or some terrorist attack: Building after building, street after street, city after city of rubble. People, years after the end of the war, digging in the ruins, and barefoot children in food ration lines.

Eventually we get to some shots of a trip up the Rhine to the ruins of earlier mini-empires (castles) and some factories and the Munich beer gardens, but that is a let down. It is the documentation of the debris, of the utter destruction of cities - of civilian population centers - by US and UK bombing still evident years afterward that make this film highly valuable. It makes me think about how Nazi Germany thought it was an undefeatable superpower with the world's best technology and best military, yet this happened to them.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 5, 2004
Subject: Meanwhile in Germany..
Although this film says it's prime focus in the INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTION (caps emphasized) the filmmakers can't seem to get away from taking footage of Beer Gardens where Hitler started his career. Although this film is fascinating to watch as this provided invaluable footage of Germany post-war, and there's incredible color footage here. I was somewhat dissapointed with the fact that the filmmakers seemed to be captivated with the rubble of Germany and not what they were supposedly sent there for (tracking steel production). But STILL! Great footage! lol

Oh, and this is all silent footage, I put on my Yahoo jukebox on, and listened to highly inappropiate music for such footage (eg "Boogie Nights" lol)
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